As One Approved

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15)

Timothy knew the theological parameters of the gospel. He ministered side by side with the apostle Paul for many years. He had witnessed Paul minister in a number of difficult circumstances, but now with Paul’s impending death, Timothy would be left to carry on without him. Paul loved Timothy and wanted to encourage him to stand against the false teaching of the day. Most important in that stand was for Timothy to know that God was standing with him and that he could rely on His power. But Paul also knew the importance of how a man of God presented himself, and in chapter two of Paul’s second letter to Timothy, he expressed to Timothy the things that were to characterize a man of God.

Along with his first letter to Timothy and Titus, 2 Timothy belongs to a group of letters known as the “Pastoral Epistles”. The shared theme of these letters are their concern for maintaining the truth of the gospel in the midst false teaching. It would be naïve, however, for us to think these letters are meant only for church leaders. All Christians are ministers of the gospel. Our message must be accurate, but our lives should always reflect the work of Christ in us.

Our greatest desire as Christians should be to please the One who sent His Son to save us. What God has done for us in Christ is the greatest expression of love there’s ever been. The only proper response is to love Him in return by living a life that pleases Him. But there’s more than just wanting to please God. In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul tells Timothy to do his best to present himself as one approved by God, a worker who has no need to be ashamed. How does Timothy do that, how do we do that? First and foremost, by God’s grace and power, but also by rightly handling God’s words of truth. As one approved by God, we must rightly handle the words of Scripture. God’s words don’t change based on our interpretation of them. His Word says what it says. Let it be our hearts desire to seek God in His Word and handle it accurately so it can be rightly applied, not only in our own lives, but also in the lives of those to whom we minister.

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